Bits and Pieces
The AirVenture International Party - A Welcoming Tradition
By Ian Brown, Editor - Bits and Pieces, EAA #657159
International visitors to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh are treated to a super welcoming party. You are encouraged to participate if it is part of the AirVenture Oshkosh tradition that you have missed in the past. All visiting Canadians have to do to attend the event is to show up at the International Visitors Tent (IVT) and sign the Canadian book. A helpful volunteer dealing with your country will give you a badge and a wristband to gain access to the Friday evening party. It is held at the beautiful nature centre building, with wine, beer, and a tasty buffet provided free of charge.
After a word of welcome and a few presentations of thanks to long-standing helpers at the IVT, the band starts up and people enjoy dancing, or at least watching the few dancers who have energy left after a day wandering the fly-market. It's amazing that some of the folks in the IVT have been helping, including providing translation services, for more than 30 years, and some have even settled in the United States. If you have never visited the IVT, it is located in the area between the flightline and the control tower, and it is a big white tent with tables for each country and notice boards where you can leave messages for your friends.
The tally of international visitors at AirVenture 2012 was:
Canada - 479
Australia - 286
Brazil - 216
South Africa - 186
Germany - 145
France - 98
New Zealand - 85
Argentina - 73
England - 57
Israel - 41
It was noticeable that a lot more visitors found their way to the party than to the parade at noon on Friday. Many of the visitors also volunteer and were unavailable for the parade, but it was a fun event nevertheless. The Brazil contingent was especially joyful at the parade, as were the Australians. We Canadians were a lot more laid back, but it was delightful to be part of the celebrations for the international attendees. On behalf of the Canadian contingent, I'd like to thank the organizers for the wonderful evening of international camaraderie.